Your Gift Supports Literacy, Wisconsin Book Festival
A message from Executive Director Jenni Collins
Literacy is an essential part of the library’s mission. Engaging children and adults with all kinds of literature and getting them excited about reading helps the library to support literacy skills. Part of literacy is also interacting with others by discussing books and stories, and your support of the library helps to bring authors and readers together in library spaces for those conversations.
The Wisconsin Book Festival is just one literacy effort supported by Madison Public Library Foundation, and we hope you will invest in the annual fund today to support this and other literacy-based library programs. If you make a gift before December 31, it will be doubled through an anonymous matching gift of up to $50,000.
In the past year, Madison Public Library has brought 125 authors to Madison from around the globe. The library offered 110 events, year-round programming attracted more than 16,000 attendees and the four-day Book Festival attracted 8,695 people. Participants came to engage with authors, ask questions, exchange ideas and be inspired. They enjoyed talking with nationally recognized authors including Scott Turow, Julia Glass, Paul Yoon and many more writers. Festival program attendees discussed presidential leadership, the economics of Janesville and poetry about gun violence, sharing ideas with friends and strangers on topics critical to human life and culture. In event surveys, participants give us lots of feedback, and one wrote, “Thanks. Great selection of authors, what a gift! It’s the best author's presentation I've ever attended.”
Foundation donors also support literacy with school-based events with youth authors like Oscar Mireles, who visited Madison elementary schools. High School Friday students talked with young adult author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds, who told them, “I don't want you to love my stories as much as I want you to love your own." One of our librarians noted, “Giving black kids the opportunity to hear a black author who writes middle school-age books was phenomenal for our kids.” Youth who interact with writers are inspired to enjoy books, read books and perhaps think about being an author themselves.
The Wisconsin Book Festival is a mainstay for supporting literary conversation, but there are other programs that bolster literacy at the library too. These include Book Club Kits and Questions, facilitated book club meetings at all nine libraries, and emails promoting best-sellers and popular titles. This year, the foundation invested funds to increase “Too Good to Miss” books in neighborhood libraries that serve low-income Madisonians. At these libraries, fewer “holds” happen, so popular books are available to those who walk in and want to pull a book off the shelf.
Authors often note that they benefit from participating in book festivals. Writing and traveling to speak about your book can be a solitary experience. At a festival, they are present with other writers, and can exchange ideas and talk with those who share their experiences. Madison author Chloe Benjamin noted that she likes “connecting with other writers and feeling how fests enhance the whole community.”
The Wisconsin Book Festival has built such a strong reputation that even those who cannot attend events at the library can see author events on cable TV. C-Span 2 Book TV films the Saturday events of the Wisconsin Book Festival, making them accessible for those who aren’t able to be there.
The foundation is dedicated to funding literacy activities with your donations. That includes supporting new book purchases, story times, author talks and self-publishing workshops. It also includes community- and school-based programs, as well as providing events at all nine Madison libraries. We are grateful for your interest in literacy and reading, and your donations help us to build better libraries for all Madisonians. We hope you will support these activities with a gift to Madison Public Library Foundation this year. Give now, and your gift will be doubled thanks to an extraordinary matching gift.
Thank you for being a supporter of inspirational libraries, compelling authors and dedicated readers.
Happy holidays to all!
Jennifer J. Collins
P.S. Did you know you could be a Sustainer of the library? Your monthly contributions go a long way to supporting library programs. Check the “monthly donation” box when you make a gift online.
If you have a donor-advised fund through Fidelity Charitable or Schwab Charitable, you can make a gift directly to Madison Public Library Foundation through DAF Direct.